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Abstract Title: Classroom Instruction Promotes Posterior Medial Cortex Brain Activity During Problem-Solving
Abstract: Understanding of physics-related concepts is often quantified through physics problem-solving (PPS) assessments. However, no study has characterized neurobiological processes underlying PPS or skill development via classroom instruction. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to delineate PPS brain networks and probe differences resulting from classroom instruction. 15 students underwent pre- and identical post-instruction PPS fMRI sessions. We assessed brain activity and identified regions more engaged post- relative to pre-instruction (P<0.05). Data revealed consistent fronto-parietal networks contributing to PPS. Moreover, significantly increased post-instruction fMRI activity in posterior medial cortex (PMC), accompanied by improved PPS scores, implicated this region's critical role in skill development. As PMC supports spatial memory and attentional focus [1,2], these novel neurobiological observations provide insight into how education experience may augment brain activity which, in turn, contributes to enhanced PPS skills.
[1] Leech et al. 2014 Brain 137
[2] Vann et al. 2009 Nat Rev Neurosci 10
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jessica E Bartley
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th St
AHC-4 Room 380
Miami, FL 33199
Phone: 3039411053
and Co-Presenter(s)
Shannon Pruden, Eric Brewe, Matthew T. Sutherland, Angela R. Laird